Posted: September 14, 2017 in Diary

In March 2017, Canine Action UK submitted a Freedom of Information request to DEFRA requesting specific information relating to the Government’s response to the EFRA inquiry into Animal Welfare: Domestic Pets.

In its published response to EFRA’s recommendation for a ban on the third party sale of dogs DEFRA stated:

“We have considered the matter very carefully including in light of the views of many welfare charities.” and “We note that a number of established welfare charities with experience and knowledge of the sector have ADVISED AGAINST a ban on third party sales.”

We wondered which welfare charities had offered views relating to EFRA’s recommendation and under what circumstances they had provided opinions – as no official consultation had taken place since the publication of the report that we were aware of. We were also concerned and surprised that ‘a number’ of welfare charities had apparently ‘advised against’ a ban, given that the 2014 Pup Aid petition had been supported by the major welfare charities.

The Freedom of Information request asked:

1. Which welfare charities provided views specifically relating to this recommendation? Please can you indicate whether the views of these charities favoured or opposed a ban and if they provided evidence to support their views.

DEFRA’s answer: We considered a number of responses to the EFRA enquiry. However, in October 2016 the Dogs Trust and Blue Cross provided us with a joint briefing on the EFRA enquiry, separate from their submissions to EFRA during their call for evidence. A copy of the joint briefing is enclosed.

Below is a copy of the joint briefing document, submitted by Dogs Trust and Blue Cross in October 2016 and separate from their evidence submissions to EFRA.

Joint Briefing Document Page 1


Joint Briefing Document Page 2

Joint Briefing Document Page 3

The joint briefing, issued to DEFRA ahead of the publication of the EFRA report raised concerns that a ban on third party sales of puppies was “not currently a practical solution” and suggested that the “most effective way to tackle and improve the breeding and subsequent selling of all dogs, not just puppies, is to introduce an effective registration and licensing system.”

We were also concerned that the Government’s decision seemed to be strongly influenced by one particular sector – ‘welfare charities’, therefore the FOI request also asked:

2. Did the Government consult stakeholder groups other than welfare charities specifically in relation to this recommendation? If yes, please indicate which stakeholder groups were contacted (e.g. BVA, Local Government Association etc.) and indicate whether these groups favoured or were opposed to a ban.

DEFRA’s answer: We did not consult any organisations, animal welfare or otherwise, in preparing the Government’s response to EFRA.

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